Posts tagged “GTD”.

Top 12 uses for your Newton in the iPhone age

April 21st, 2008

Paper iPhone and my Newton

I wonder what the heck I’ll do with my MessagePad when I finally purchase my iPhone, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder. Some still use their Newtons everyday even after Apple has given up on it. But what are some modern, practical applications for the MessagePad? Let’s take a look.

  1. Get GTD with it. Pardon the ghetto talk, but the first thing I used my Newton for was a getting-things-done gadget. I use my calendar, my to-do list (although I still haven’t quite got the hang of it), and the Notepad to keep tons and tons of lists and reminders. There are Newton applications out there to help you get started, too, no matter what Newton version you use. I refer to my MessagePad 110 as my “memory box” because it really helps to keep my brain organized.
  2. Take control of your finances. Apps like Pocket Quicken and ProCalc can take your financial information on the go. Spend, save, and track all with your Newton. Since it’s always with you, your MessagePad may help you finally slay the balanced checkbook dragon. If you don’t yet have a financial system in place, here’s your chance.
  3. Read a book. Who needs a Kindle? Reading is possible with an eBook on the Newton using solutions like PaperBack or Newton Press. War and Peace, anyone?
  4. Take inventory. In March, I got started on a big, nasty home inventory project – logging all my possessions for insurance purposes. Put your Newton to work by jotting down book ISBNs, music collection titles, or even comic books. Take a backlit MessagePad into the attic and finally get those dust-collecting collectibles under control, and use a program like QuickFigure Pro to organize all the data.
  5. Keep a travel log. I’ve been thinking about this since I’ve started planning my big New England trip. What better use for a Newton than to store directions, sites-to-see, and helpful reminders as you travel on some adventure. With its faxing capabilities, I’ve even thought of using my Newton to keep co-workers up-to-date on where I’m at and what I’m doing.
  6. Play a game (or two). Retro gaming is all the rage now – why not fire up your Newton to play some Newtendo or the tried-and-true games like chess. MessagePads are like a GameBoy, without the buttons!
  7. Dig out your OS 7+ Mac. I’m a low-end Mac geek, and I look for any excuse to play around on my Mac SEs or Bondi iMac. There are tons of Macs in the world collecting dust; why not break yours out and hook up the MessagePad’s serial cable and relive days of yore? Gather the kids around and show them how good they have it now. Show them the MessagePad’s recharging station, and let them know how the iPod dock idea came to be.
  8. Impress your co-workers. I’ve seen this one in action first hand. If you’re having trouble talking to a co-worker, start scribbling on your Newton. Questions are bound to come up.
  9. Write your own Newton Poem. Break out that English Lit 101 textbook, or Perrine’s Sound and Sense, and see how your favorite poem looks all garbled and mistranslated.
  10. Rescue yourself during emergencies. Just imagine: boxes of something fall on top of you. You’re stranded in your office or garage, and you can’t reach your phone. But you have your Newton on you, and a fax, and access to a phone line. Fax for help! Use your Names database to fax off a SOS, and relax knowing those fire trucks will be arriving any minute now.
  11. Hold keyboard vs. handwriting recognition Olympics. If you can’t make it to Beijing to watch this summer’s games, hold your own competitions with keyboard fans. This thread in Newtontalk inspired an idea: set up a keyboard and a Newton, and race to see who can write a certain amount of words – say, a Shakespearian sonnet – the fastest. Then see which one has the most errors. Cut out tin foil medals for the winner.
  12. Study! Someone recently asked the Newtontalk list about flash card-style apps for the Newton. A, B, or C?

The possibilities are almost endless. The point is that the Newton is a viable monochrome platform in today’s millions-of-colors world. Think of something I forgot? Let me know in the comments!

When the iPhone comes, what about Newton?

March 18th, 2008


Now that I’ve been using my Newton for everyday tasks like meetings, dates, and jotting down notes, a jarring thought occured to me: what will I do when I (eventually) buy an iPhone?

Does it makes sense to keep lugging my Newton around everywhere? Will its nimble features be replaced by the Jesus Phone?

First of all, I haven’t decided on a date to purchase an iPhone just yet. Part of me wants to wait until June, when the SDK stuff officially comes out. And the other part of me wants the 3G iPhone so bad I can taste it. Sometimes, I want to drive to Ann Arbor and grab the darn thing. Why not?

Because my MessagePad 110 is so darned big, carrying an iPhone would be a blessing. It can fit into my pocket, it weighs far less (4.8 ounces verses well over a pound), and it can take the place of my current phone and the Newton.

With the SDK applications, I’ll surely be able to jot notes and organize my GTD life. There’s already a calendar and contacts feature. Plus there’s the fun of controlling the thing with my fingertips; no stylus to lose with an iPhone.

Even if I decide to abandon the Newt, I can still experiment with it and play around with its applications for the purpose of this blog. I would still like to buy a 2×00 model to mess with. And there’s always that spare eMate out there that could help with these here blog posts.

Newton Poetry is first and foremost a blog about Newton MessagePads, their culture, and the crazy “poetry” the come up with. But it’s also about Apple and its portable products, and so an iPhone would fit right in.

We’ll see what actually happens when I do buy the iPhone. Until then, my MessagePad will remain my trusted companion and “memory box.”

HowTo: Fax with a Newton

February 21st, 2008

The lowly, dependable Newton fax modem.

How much fun can faxing yourself be? Try doing it with a Newton!

I tested the Newton’s faxing capabilities last week, to great success. It’s doggone easy. Here’s how.

First, get yourself a Newton external fax. I grabbed mine off eBay for about $1, plus shipping, which was very affordable. With the 100 series Newtons, there’s no fax card or extra software required. Everything you need is right there.

Batteries go here.

The Newton fax takes two AA batteries (in the slot pictured above), or it has an AC input for 7 voltz. I had two spare AAs around, so I used those. Next, I unplugged my phone from the cord and plugged the end into the fax. That’s all you need to do to set up the fax part. More… »

Two weeks with my Newton.

February 18th, 2008

Using a Newton everyday.

Two weeks ago, I decided to dedicate all my GTD, notetaking, scheduling, and day-to-day tasks using nothing but my Newton MessagePad 110.

I originally bought my MessagePad on eBay just to play around with, and see what all the fuss is about.  As I’ve worked on this Newton Poetry blog, however, I’ve developed quite an affection for the green machine.  Maybe it’s contagious, I don’t know.  But I figured if I really wanted to get to know my Newton, I had to use it everyday – not just for translating poetry.

The project began on Monday, Feb. 4, though not with a bang.  That first Monday, I mainly got acquainted with setting up calendar dates and making appropriate folders to store my notes.  Nothing special; just the basics. More… »

iPod Touch as Newton, but Newton 2 may still come

January 18th, 2008

iPod Touch

Steve Jobs introduced new iPod Touch features that are bringing it closer and closer to a modern-day Newton. “Now there’s even more to touch” touts the new page, and it’s true: Mail, Notes, Maps, etc. It all adds up to a more Newton-like device than the previous iPod Touches.

The iPod Touch is now a true iPhone-clone, without the phone and subscription model.

It makes me wonder what the GTD crowd thinks of this updated Touch (Macrumors has a forum dedicated to just this subject). The Newtonlist has been buzzing with Newton software packages that make the MessagePad a handy tool for GTDers.

And I suppose that, after the SDK comes out for the iPhone and iPod Touch, developers will be builder 43folders-ish software all over the place. Jailbroken iTouches already have these kind of capabilities.

But does all this spell the end of those Newton 2.0 rumors that were flying pre-Macworld? John Gruber thinks, perhaps, not:

I am nearly convinced that this product exists, at least as a project in development. My hunch is that AppleInsider has it spot-on: it’s in development, but not yet ready to launch, and, perhaps, never will if Apple can’t get it right…A successful tablet-like device from Apple, I think, would clearly be designed as a secondary computing device — a satellite attached and synched to a Mac or PC (probably, of course, through iTunes).

What’s missing, says Gruber, is the “why should I buy this?” factor that accompanies most new Apple products. Tablets have failed to catch on, he argues, so why release one if it doesn’t blow people away?

(Gruber’s predictions of Macworld were, by the way, spot-on, except for his plea for new Cinema Displays. Everything else he got right. Kudos.)

So here we Newton fans still sit, stuck between a maybe-it’ll-happen Newton 2.0 and an iPod Touch that, as it adds features, becomes more and more like Apple’s long-abandoned PDA.

Is the iPod Touch the new Newton?

November 29th, 2007 seems to think so:

The Newton was marketed as a pda. While the Ipod touch is not. The third party apps have opened up the Ipod touch into much more than a pda. Now, with Apple issuing a development kit to make official third party software for the Ipod touch and Iphone, the barrier between media player and pda is much more grey.

To heck with a phone: if all you want to do is organize your life and listen to music, the Touch is the way to go. And no stylus needed, right?

How to use my Newton 110?

October 28th, 2007

Today I tried out another iPhone at the Deathstar store (aka, AT&T).

But lately I’ve been trying to revive the Newton by getting some old macs to work again. I’ve got an LC II, a Quadra, and a PowerBook 5300 – all sitting around unusable, and all because I don’t have a proper display with any of them.

The PowerBook’s screen seems to be DOA, and the two desktops are missing a monitor.

So the Newton has helped me build this blog, but not much besides that. What I’m scared of is entering all the information by hand, which would take forever. My contacts, calendar, to-do items, etc. – that’s what the Newton was built for, but without a proper information input system, it’s damn clunky.

Not like the iPhone: I could plug it into my G4 iBook and be all set. iTunes does all the hard work for me.

The Newton? A poetic brick. The MessagePad came with a Connection Kit, but I need the proper Mac (or, really, any old school PC would work – but who wants that?) to manage it.

Any suggestions?